San Francisco Giants: How They Stack up to NL Playoff Rivals


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

How do we really make out the last week of the San Francisco Giants? They swept the then first place Brewers, then only managed to split four games against the lowly Colorado Rockies.

Despite that, the team’s playoff position looks better — much better — than it did last week.

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Things look even better in the National League Wild Card race.

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What does the near future tell us about these teams?

San Francisco Giants

Upcoming Series: 3 at Detroit, 3 vs. Arizona, 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Good:

  • This could change, but because of the way the Dodgers shuffled their rotation, the Giants are now in line to miss Clayton Kershaw in each remaining series against the Dodgers. That’s a break. If you’re facing Kershaw, you’re penciling it down as a loss, it’s as simple as that.
  • Madison Bumgarner has a chance to win 20 games. Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, and Joe Panik are all red hot.
  • Andrew Susac is hitting well enough to see significant time at catcher. That allows Bruce Bochy to put Posey at first base more, keeping him fresh.

The Bad:

  • You can’t lose those games to the Rockies right now. It just can’t happen. The Nationals bailed the Giants out to some extent there, but the Dodgers have six games remaining against the Rockies San Francisco is not making up much ground there.
  • Kershaw is no longer in line to start either Giants series, but Hyun-jin Ryu and Zack Greinke are in line to go in each series. So, there are certainly no breaks there.
  • I knew Michael Morse was banged up, but Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval missing that last game in Colorado really concerns me. The Giants had an off day on Thursday, have another scheduled on Monday, and have a series with the DH available in between. Even if it was just a precaution, it’s something to be a little concerned with.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Upcoming Series: 3 vs. Arizona, 3 vs. San Diego, 3 at San Francisco

The Good:

  • Other than their six games left against the Giants, the Dodgers don’t have any more games remaining against a team with a winning record.
  • Hyun-jin Ryu is back and threw very well in his first start after injury. They may not be playing that great right now, but the Top-3 of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Ryu will compete with anyone.

The Bad:

  • Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are ice cold.
  • The Dodgers may be the leaders and favorites in the NL West, but it’s very hard to call them favorites in the National League. They haven’t had any dramatic cold spells, but they haven’t been particularly overwhelming at any point this year.

Milwaukee Brewers

Upcoming Series: 3 vs. St. Louis, 4 vs. Miami, 3 vs. Cincinnati

The Good:

  • Well, it can’t get much worse.
  • They are in a complete free-fall, but the Brewers remaining strength of schedule is easier than either the Pirates or Braves, the two teams they’re likely battling for a playoff spot with.
  • Gerardo Parra has been forced into action, but has handled himself quite nicely, hitting safely in all four games he’s had to start.

The Bad:

  • Carlos Gomez is out for a while, possibly the rest of the season. They were struggling with him out there, but it’s been even worse since he got hurt.
  • The two teams chasing them still have a four game series to play against each other. Someone will lose those games, but someone will win them too.
  • If this thing doesn’t get turned around fast, the Brewers will be cooked. You can’t have a nine-game losing streak this time of the year. Milwaukee is still alive, but they need a complete 180 right now. If they can’t come back and do something against the Cardinals, it’s hard to see them getting back up off of the mat.

Atlanta Braves

Upcoming Series: 3 at Miami, 3 at Washington, 3 at Texas

The Good:

  • Any time you can go 4-6 over 10 games and pick up three games, you can’t really complain about where you stand. They aren’t playing great, but have a decent cushion on the Pirates and are tied with a team that looks lost.
  • With Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, and Alex Wood going strong, this team is a rough postseason assignment for any team that gets them, especially with a lights out closer in Craig Kimbrel at the end of the game.

The Bad:

  • With the possible exception of Jason Heyward, this offense is just not clicking right now, as getting shut out twice by the Phillies will attest to.
  • With six games against the Nationals and four against the Pirates, the remaining schedule is no picnic. If they manage it, that prepares Atlanta well for October. If not, it prepares them well for Spring Training.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Upcoming Series: 3 at Chicago Cubs, 4 at Philadelphia, 3 vs. Chicago Cubs

The Good:

  • Much like the Braves, the Pirates aren’t playing particularly well, but they’re still picking up ground on the Brewers. Both Atlanta and Pittsburgh are a lot closer to playing well and while Atlanta has the edge in the standings, the Pirates will have a chance against them in the final week of the season.
  • The Cubs might be playing better, but 10 games in a row against last place teams is a gift at this time of the year.
  • After a slump, Josh Harrison has refound some of the magic that made him the NL Player of the Month in August.
  • Edinson Volquez has tossed two quality starts in a row.

The Bad:

  • Pedro Alvarez hasn’t played in over a week.
  • Andrew McCutchen has cooled off significantly. They’ll need him to be the best player on the field for the rest of the way.